Dante Exum Fifth In NBA Draft
18-year-old Australian basketballer Dante Exum has officially nabbed a spot in the NBA after he was picked fifth overall in the NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. He had been dubbed the draft's "international man of mystery".
"I'm just a kid from Melbourne, Australia… I guess I'm not a mystery anymore," said the 18-year-old Australian Institute of Sport product, following the pick. He now becomes the fourth Australian to be taken in the first round of the draft after Andrew Bogut, Luc Longley and Chris Anstey.
The fifth pick in the NBA draft is a remarkable achievement, especially considering Exum hasn't played in the American college basketball circuit, meaning most scouts would have been unaware of his abilities. Exum will join the ranks of Bogut, Patty Mills, Aron Baynes and Matthew Dellavedova as the fifth Australian currently in the NBA.
He will join last year's ninth pick, point guard Trey Burke, in the backcourt and says it will be a great learning curve. "You look at our Australian national team, we have two great guards in Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova – it will be a great experience for me."
Dante Exum is the son of the US-born basketballer Cecil Exum, who played college for North Carolina before moving to Australia to compete in the NBL. According to The Courier Mail, in recent weeks leading up the the draft Dante Exum has undergone a series of physical and psychological tests, with teams aiming to undercover his weakness and strengths.
The Australian will now sign a two-year contract with the Jazz worth about $US4.5 million ($A4.9 million) each year and has already inked endorsement deals with Adidas, Red Bull and basketball card company Panini America.
Another Australian, University of New Mexico senior Cameron Bairstow, is expected to be taken in the draft's second round. Canadian Andrew Wiggins was the first overall to be picked in the draft to the Cleveland Cavaliers.